Everyone (aka us press) has been touting the event as an Eton-Harrow posh-off between Eddie Redmayne for his tour de force as a challenged scientific genius in ‘The Theory of Everything’ and Benedict Cumberbatch for his tour de equal force as a challenged scientific genius in ‘The Imitation Game’.
BAFTA’s Best Leading Actor is one of these…
BAFTA boss Amanda Berry is emphatic, however, that, whatever the bookies might say, there are no favourites on the night when it comes to how everyone is treated.
“We want EVERYONE to have a wonderful time,” she tells HuffPost UK. “Michael Keaton has never been nominated for a BAFTA before, so it’s exciting he’s coming.
“We have a much smaller budget than the Oscars, but we have one thing they don’t have,” says Amanda, proudly.
“Nominees will be coming from all over the world, and we’ll be able to give them dinner in an actual royal palace. Now that’s something the Americans just can’t match.”
This will be Amanda’s 17th Awards ceremony, and she’ll be hoping that at least some of the luminaries will be providing moments to match the ones she remembers most fondly from previous evenings…
“Meryl Streep never fails to give us something special,” she remembers. “When her shoe dropped off, the inimitable Colin Firth was on hand to be a complete gentleman.
“Previously, she received her award and said, ‘I’d like to spank…’ which I have no idea whether it was deliberate or not.”
Helen Mirren and Mick Jagger’s speeches are among Amanda’s favourites, even Mickey Rourke’s – “full of swearing, funny in person, but I realised it would be an editing nightmare”.
Two unexpected winners, though, stand out still for the BAFTA chief. “When Gael Garcia Bernal won for ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’, he ran to the stage more quickly than I’ve seen anyone,” she remembers.
But for sheer delight and surprise, nobody beats last year’s winner for Best Supporting Actor. When Barkhad Abdi’s name was called out for ‘Captain Phillips’, this first-time actor’s face was priceless.
“It was sheer joy,” remembers Amanda. “I wouldn’t have been anywhere else at that moment.”
The British Academy Film Awards are on BBC1 on Sunday evening at 9pm.